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					Preparing Students for
STEM Careers:
The NRAO-EPSCoR
Connection.
Talk Outline:

 • The National Radio Astronomy
   Observatory
 • Overview of EPO programs
 • WV Governor’s School for Math and
   Science
 • Pulsar Search Collaboratory
                          Founded 1956.
                          Funded by the
                          NSF.
                          Provides state-of-
                          the-art telescopes
                          and support to
                          astronomers world-
                          wide.




Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope
The GBT is
the NRAO’s
newest
instrument.

World’s
largest fully-
steerable
telescope.
NRAO EPO Program Goals
 • Enlarge the pipeline of students ready to enter
   college and graduate with a degree in STEM
   (NAS, 2007).

 • Increase the number of well-qualified and
   highly effective STEM teachers in the classroom
   (NSB, 2007).

 • Involve students in research/inquiry-based
   science.

 • Increase public’s appreciation of STEM.
           EPO Programs at NRAO
                            Program                                    Funding                                      Impact
Teachers    Summe r Institute s                      NSF (1987-2002) NASA ( 2003-pre se nt)    >1000 te ache rs, 300K stude nts

            Re se arch Expe rie nce for Te ache rs   NSF (2000-pre se nt), NASA (2005)         24 te ache rs to date .

            Chautauqua                               NSF, Schools, Fe e s (annual since 1989) > 600 profe ssors

            NEW: GLOBE                               State funding                             20 te ache rs

         *** Pulsar Se arch Collaboratory            NSF, EPSCoR                               launch in 2008-60 te ache rs, 1800 stude nts



Students    Fie ld Trips, Institute s                programs are fre e                        3500 in 2006, 2400 use d the 40 Foot

            High School M e ntorship                 fre e , 2-6 stude nts pe r ye ar, local   ~40 high school stude nts

            GEAR UP Camp                             US De pt. of Education                    60 high school stude nts (2004-2006)

            REU                                      NSF                                       25 unde rgrads since 1991, many more !

         *** WV Gov e rnor's School                  WV EPSCoR                                 60 stude nts/ye sr, ~180 to date

         *** Pulsar Se arch Collaboratory            NSF, EPSCoR                               launch in 2008-60 te ache rs, 1800 stude nts



Public      Tour Program                             marke ting funds WV Tourism               ~45,000 in 2006

            StarQue st Star Party                    Fe e s                                    150-200 pe r ye ar ( 2004-2007)

            Socie ty of Amate urs                    Space is Fre e                            At le ast 1200 since 1985



Outreach    M ountain Radio Astronomy show           produce d by NRAO                         re ache s 10,000 pe ople , plus podcast

            Quie t Skie s                            NASA IDEAS grant                          will re ach 600+ pe r ye ar

            NRAO Ambassadors                         SARA, NRAO                                1400 in 2006/2007

             Cosmic Radio Show                       Corp. of Public Broadcasting              launch in Octobe r 2007
     West Virginia Governor’s School
•   Partnership with the National
    Youth Science Foundation.
•   2-week residential program at
    NRAO.
•   60 rising high-school
    freshman/year.
 Key Components
•Research
•Directed Studies
•Whole Group challenges
•Outdoor Activities
•Carpe Diem!
                                       NATIONAL RADIO ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORY


                                                           Research Problem




You and your colleagues are from the Galactic Structure Scientific Institute. You have received observing time on the 40 foot radio
telescope in order to investigate the galactic plane. The following questions may be used as a starting point for your research:

1. Can the plane of the galaxy be observed with the 40 foot?
2. From your data, what can you say about the nature of the radiation coming from the galactic plane?
3. How does the picture of the galactic plane change when continuum, spectral line data and optical data are compared.

You are to design a set of questions and experiments that will allow you to accurately explore this region of the sky. A staff advisor will
be available to help guide your research, however, generating questions and performing the required experiments to yield answers to
the questions are your responsibility. At the end of your observing run your team will be asked to give an oral and written report to
your colleagues and the observatory staff. The reports will contain a detailed outline of the steps taken to arrive at the presented
results, as well as recommendations for future investigations. You are NOT expected to be finished with your research, but should tell
us what you know based on what you did. Be prepared to defend your results during the question and answer session that will follow .
Radio Astronomy Research at the 40 Foot and GBT
Directed Studies
Whole Group -Outdoor Activities
                     Is it Working?
                       Evaluation
1.   Research Self-Assessment: The Research Self-Assessment is
     designed to assess the research attitudes, skills and confidence of
     GSMS students.
         •   Pre/Post Likert Survey.
         •   Gauges progress in self-esteem, confidence, ability to work
             with others, and knowledge of the value of scientific
             research.
2.   Student Survey
         •   Pre/Post Likert Instrument
         •   Indicates changes in student’s attitudes toward science,
             knowledge of how science is done in the real world
3.   GSMS Program Evaluation.
         •   Post only. Open ended
         •   Reveals additional information about positive and negative
             aspects of the program.
                                                                        Pre     Post
Item   Item Description                                                                 t-Test   Prob.
                                                                        Mean    Mean
       Total Score                                                      79.08   84.87   -6.66    0.00
 Q1    I’m comfortable using the telescope.                             3.16    3.82    -5.91    0.00
 Q2    I am scared.                                                     3.25    3.25    -4.77    0.00
 Q3    Don’t have the background needed.                                2.71    3.45    -6.24    0.00
 Q4    Teammates know more than I do.                                   2.91    3.22    -3.32    0.00
 Q5    I am exhilarated.                                                2.91    3.20    -3.03    0.00
 Q8    I really want to succeed.                                        3.62    3.89    -3.42    0.00
 Q9    I’m afraid of making a fool of myself.                           3.00    3.49    -3.79    0.00
 Q10   I know how to answer a research problem                          3.15    3.57    -4.54    0.00
 Q11   I’ll be able to apply this research to other areas of science.   3.16    3.47    -3.20    0.00
 Q12   My team won’t be able to get right answer.                       3.42    3.73    -4.25    0.00
 Q13   I don’t know if I can get it done.                               2.96    3.62    -5.91    0.00
 Q16   Scientists will help me when I need it.                          3.38    3.56    -2.01    0.02
 Q17   I feel like I don’t know anything.                               3.29    3.58    -2.75    0.00
 Q21   Afraid we won’t replicate results.                               3.05    3.47    -3.94    0.00
 Q23   Using the scientific method is essential                         1.87    2.15    -2.22    0.02
 Q24   I’m worried about getting project completed.                     2.84    3.20    -3.03    0.00
 Q25   I feel confident about doing research                            3.16    3.56    -3.67    0.00
 Q26   Getting the right answer is important                            2.15    2.53    -2.81    0.00


RSA Results. N=109 2006 only. 2007 only.
                                                                   Pre     Post
 Item   Item Description                                                           t-Test   Prob.
                                                                   Mean    Mean
        Positive Results
        Total Score                                                86.47   93.18   -5.06    0.00
  Q4    Being a scientist would be fun                             2.85    3.05    -2.03    0.02
  Q8    I really want to succeed                                   3.37    3.54    -1.92    0.03
  Q9    I solve problems                                           3.30    3.50    -2.03    0.02
 Q10    I ask questions                                            3.11    3.33    -2.00    0.03
 Q13    I use computers                                            3.33    3.50    -1.76    0.04
 Q14    I use equipment                                            3.07    3.28    -1.90    0.03
 Q15    I record my observations.                                  2.47    3.13    -5.35    0.00
 Q16    I worry when results do not match those of my classmates   2.57    2.82    -1.86    0.03
 Q17    I make graphs or charts using my results.                  2.60    3.07    -4.44    0.00
 Q18    Science is a list of facts                                 2.41    2.67    -2.04    0.02
 Q20    Science is testing ideas.                                  1.85    3.13    -8.48    0.00
 Q21    Science never changes                                      1.85    3.25    -8.47    0.00
 Q27    Science is a way to prove theories                         1.67    3.11    -9.26    0.00
 Q28    Trial and Error is unscientific.                           1.69    3.36    -9.60    0.00
 Q29    What is known in science should be questioned.             2.95    3.16    -2.12    0.02



Student Survey N=109 2006 Results 2007 Results
             What’s next?
Pulsar Search Collaboratory

  NSF ITEST:
  “…increase the opportunities for students and
   teachers to learn about, experience, and use
   information technologies within the context of
   STEM courses.”
Pulsar Search Collaboratory

  – involves teachers and students in the search
    for new pulsars.
  – “Distributed community of researchers”.
  – Partnership between WVU physics, computer
    science, and education departments, WV
    EPSCoR, and NRAO.
History:


1999 Higher Ed Symposium in
Charleston.
Offhand conversation with Bob
Gillespie (aka master nagger)
about “Pulsars at Home” with
the soon to be finished GBT.
The years go by. Annual nag
by Bob.
2006: Two new faculty at
WVU-- pulsar astronomers!
2007: summer shutdown
pulsar survey-- over 100 TB of
raw data.
Program Elements

  – Summer residential program at NRAO: PSC Leaders
     • 12 day teacher institute (20)
     • 5 day experience for teachers and students (30)
  – Academic Year Activities
     • Whole class activities
     • School based Collaboratory Team (~5 students)
     • Activities Timing and implementation guided by Project
       Director
     • Online tools: Collaboratory
  – Capstone PSC seminar at WVU
     • Poster presentations, student and professional talks.
     • Tours and activities of WVU STEM schools.
  – Students can remain in PSC throughout high school
    career.

				
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posted:1/4/2012
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